Aberdeen England March 17 2017 A package was smuggled to a prisoner in a court holding cell after a member of the public managed to sneak past security, the Evening Express can reveal today.
The breach has prompted an investigation by security company G4S and raised fears weapons could slip past guards.
G4S today said the incident, which happened at Aberdeen Sheriff Court last Tuesday, “should not have occurred”.
A man entered the holding cell area at the court via a side entrance. It is understood he gained access by following a visiting social worker.
Once the man entered the restricted area he then passed a parcel to a HMP Grampian prisoner, who was in the cell.
A short time later the alarm was raised and the unauthorized member of the public was removed from the court.
The parcel – which contained cigarettes – was later recovered by staff from the prisoner.
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart said the incident raised real concerns.
He added: “This time it was cigarettes but what if it had been something else, like a knife or another kind of weapon? It could have been a devastating outcome if that were the case.”
G4S currently holds the Scottish Prison Services (SPS) contract for the transportation of individuals in custody or awaiting sentencing.
This involves responsibility for transferring individuals to prison and at court.
Willie Galloway, operations director at G4S Court Services said: “Two members of the public entered the cell complex of the court.
“Whilst officers were dealing with the first person who was a visiting social worker, the second person approached the cells area and passed an unauthorized article through the cell door hatch to a prisoner.
“That person was challenged and removed from the cell area but this was clearly an incident that should not have occurred. All prisoners were subsequently searched and prohibited tobacco items were removed.
“Steps have already been taken to ensure that a similar situation cannot happen again.”
Along with G4S, the SPS has now launched an investigation.
A SPS spokeswoman said: “SPS, in conjunction with G4S, are currently investigating an incident at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.”